Should I employ my boyfriend or girlfriend?

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Photo Credit: mrhayata via Compfight cc

It is increasingly common for unmarried couples to choose not to marry, and in many cases this could stem from a belief that an unmarried partner has little claim on property owned by the other.  We are seeing an increasing number of cases where the couple have worked together on a business venture, albeit that this may only be held in one name legally.  On separation, one person then loses out.

Whilst it is not so easy for an unmarried partner to claim entitlement to any wealth of the other on separation, co-habitees can make claims to a share in a business they may have worked in or on if they are able to demonstrate the entitlement to do so. These claims are hard to mount successfully but the disruption and cost to the ongoing business can be enormous.

There are two ways to protect against this:

  1. Employment contracts – if a person has been paid for the work they have done in the business, then this greatly reduces the likelihood of any claim being successful.
  2. Cohabitation agreements can remove this concern and can also deal with other non-business assets.

Of course, the landscape changes on marriage!

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